A few hours before dawn, police in Glen Burnie, Md., spotted two men smudged with grease leaving the parking lot of an auto repair shop in a deserted industrial area, says the Baltimore Sun. The men said they had stopped to relieve themselves, but when officers discovered a cache of car parts, tools, and more than a dozen damaged vehicles nearby, they thought otherwise.
The two men were arrested and charged in connection with the theft of catalytic converters, an increasingly common crime. “We have been seeing an increase in catalytic converter theft, and we’ve seen an increase in metal theft in general,” said Sgt. John Gilmer, a police spokesman. “We attribute that to the cost of metal going up.” said Kathy Meadows, co-owner of an auto repair agency. “People have stolen wheels right off a car and left the car sitting on the chassis. Sometimes they get the wrong part and steal the resonator rather than the catalytic converter. It’s a real loss for us because we’re responsible for the cars.” Meadows estimated that parts have been stolen from cars on her lot six or seven times in the past year.